Ptf1a is essential for the differentiation of GABAergic and glycinergic amacrine cells and horizontal cells in the mouse retina

Development. 2007 Mar;134(6):1151-60. doi: 10.1242/dev.02781. Epub 2007 Feb 14.


Basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors are important regulators of retinal neurogenesis. In the developing retina, proneural bHLH genes have highly defined expressions, which are influenced by pattern formation and cell-specification pathways. We report here that the tissue-specific bHLH transcription factor Ptf1a (also known as PTF1-p48) is expressed from embryonic day 12.5 of gestation (E12.5) to postnatal day 3 (P3) during retinogenesis in the mouse. Using recombination-based lineage tracing, we provide evidence that Ptf1a is expressed in precursors of amacrine and horizontal cells. Inactivation of Ptf1a in the developing retina led to differentiation arrest of amacrine and horizontal precursor cells in addition to partial transdifferentiation of Ptf1a-expressing precursor cells to ganglion cells. Analysis of late cell-type-specific markers revealed the presence of a small population of differentiated amacrine cells, whereas GABAergic and glycinergic amacrine cells, as well as horizontal cells, were completely missing in Ptf1a-knockout retinal explants. We conclude that Ptf1a contributes to the differentiation of horizontal cells and types of amacrine cells during mouse retinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amacrine Cells / chemistry
  • Amacrine Cells / cytology*
  • Amacrine Cells / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Glycine / analysis
  • Glycine / metabolism*
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / embryology*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / cytology
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analysis
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Transcription Factors
  • transcription factor PTF1
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases
  • Glycine